AMSTERDAM — Schuylerville baseball head coach Darrin Renner shook his head a bit as he talked about it. His pitchers, he said, know they cannot afford to walk nine batters — and hit four more — and expect favorable results in the Foothills Council.
“You’re not gonna win in this league if you walk guys like that,” Renner said.
Except, Monday, the Black Horses did just that.
Somehow, Schuylerville posted a 2-0 victory at Shuttleworth Park to knock off Amsterdam despite issuing one free pass after another. The Rams ended up leaving 16 runners on base in the defeat, and loaded the bases in three separate innings of their shutout defeat.
“We were getting guys on,” Amsterdam head coach Brian Spagnola said, “we just couldn’t get the hit to get them in.”
In a game featuring teams relying heavily on underclassmen, both Amsterdam (2-1, 2-2) and Schuylerville (1-0, 3-0) struggled to execute — but the Black Horses were able to take pride in a bend-but-don’t-break effort that left them undefeated on the young season.
“In situations like that,” Schuylerville junior Carson Dunkel said, “we dug deep and came together as a team.”
“We know that we’re gonna have some growing pains this season,” Renner said. “We’re gonna have to come out and fight every day.”
Dunkel, who earned the win with five innings of work, worked in and out of trouble throughout his start. He walked eight and hit one batter, but only allowed two hits in picking up the win. Jared Gregorek pitched the final two innings to record the save, walking one and plunking three batters.
Amsterdam loaded the bases in both innings against Gregorek, both times before the Black Horses had recorded more than one out. In those final two innings, Amsterdam’s batters were a combined 0 for 5 in bases-loaded situations.
“It’s all about quality at-bats,” Spagnola said. “When we got into RBI situations, we didn’t get good swings.”
Amsterdam senior Brendan McGillin took the loss on the mound despite a solid showing in which he pitched into the seventh inning. McGillin allowed both runs — Schuylerville’s left fielder Cameron Alber and Gregorek each had RBI singles in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively — but struck out eight.
McGillin also had two hits for the Rams, while both Amsterdam’s Jeffrey Brennan and Schuylerville’s Nate Preston doubled.
After a 2-0 start, Amsterdam has dropped back-to-back games going into its matchup Wednesday with Queensbury. The Spartans have ended Amsterdam’s season in four of the last five years.
Schuylerville next plays today at Johnstown. After a start to the season which included winning Saratoga Central Catholic’s Phil Waring Memorial Tournament this past weekend, Dunkel said the Black Horses are on their way to developing a winning mentality.
“It really [builds] confidence and showed who we are,” Dunkel said of his team’s three-game winning streak.
Renner said his team has flirted with issuing double-digit walks in each of its games so far, but appreciated the toughness his players have shown in dealing with rough situations.
“They’re fighters,” Renner said.
Schuylerville 000 110 0 — 2 7 1
Amsterdam 000 000 0 — 0 4 2
Dunkel, Gregorek (6) and Harshbarger; McGillin, R. Spagnola (7) and Rocas.